Football / World Cup USA '94: Parreira defends the use of a penalty shoot-out

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AFTER seeing his side win the World Cup Carlos Alberto Parreira, the Brazilian coach, defended penalty shoot-outs as a means of settling the final.

'It is not the most direct way of finding a champion, but after playing 90 minutes and then another 30 minutes, it would be grossly unfair to do it any other way,' he said. 'Certainly it would be more unfair to play another game.'

Parreira was quick to give his players the credit for the triumph. 'I've got to thank the players. It is not every day one is a world champion. Italy were worthy opponents. We had to go to penalty kicks, but I think we deserved it. Our mission has been accomplished.'

Arrigo Sacchi, the Italian coach, echoed Parreira's sentiments. 'First of all I want to thank the players,' he said. 'Everybody has done their best. I think everybody gave everything they had to give. I think that when we've done the utmost we have to accept any result with serenity.

'It was undoubtedly a very difficult match against a great team. It was a balanced match and it could have gone either way. Unfortunately we didn't have the episode that could have determined the outcome of the game until we had the penalty shoot-out.

'The teams were very tired and they had been playing in a championship that was very trying. It was very hot. Many of our players as well as the Brazilian players had cramp in their legs. It was a brutal battle.

'This was an experience for us. If I were told today to repeat this experience, I would be more than happy to repeat it. We should not be looking for alibis. We did our best. Of course, we faltered at the penalties, but we did all we could. I think that we should all be happy that we could get to second place. And we should have a clear conscience about finishing second.

'I feel a lot of gratitude toward the players, toward the federation president, toward everybody. I am just very sorry that I was not able to give the Italian fans the victory they were hoping for. But I think our team did its utmost.'

On Franco Baresi and Roberto Baggio, who both missed penalties, Sacchi said: 'This doesn't undermine them at all.'